Push is on for a National Work From Home Day

Over 50,000 Canadians have pledged their support for a National Work From Home Day and their voices were heard on November 24 by Parliament when Liberal MP and Human Resources and Skills Development Critic Mike Savage championed the idea in the House of Commons.  

“We’re thrilled that Mike Savage, one of Parliament’s hardest working MPs, is helping Workopolis champion this initiative to help employers create the type of flexible, highly productive workplaces that can deliver many benefits,” says Gabriel Bouchard, president and chief brand officer of Workopolis.

At the forefront of the movement, the mayor of Ottawa proclaimed Wednesday, November 24, 2010 as a Telework Day in the City of Ottawa and encouraged employees working in Canada’s capital to work from home, where feasible, on this day to demonstrate support for an annual National Work From Home Day. The Proclamation is on the heels of the motion put forward by Councillor Maria McRae, and approved by Ottawa City Council on August 25, 2010 directing city staff to proceed with telework implementation where operationally feasible.  

Going green by working from home
According to a recent poll for Workopolis, four in ten (39 per cent) Canadians said the most important benefit associated with working from home would be a reduction in traffic congestion and pollution. In lockstep with this goal, Workopolis will make a $10,000 donation to WWF-Canada to support the organization’s many initiatives aimed at greening the workplace, such as the Living Planet @ Work campaign.

“As a nation we need to rethink the world of work and the option to work from home should be part of that national discussion,” says Savage, Member of Parliament for Dartmouth-Cole Harbor. “It’s good for the environment and work-life balance, and will improve our nation’s productivity, which adds to greater business success. I applaud Workopolis for their efforts to spearhead this initiative and urge the government to listen to the thousands of Canadians who support a National Work From Home Day. This is part of the new reality of work.”  

Canadian workers willing to make sacrifices for option to work from home
While the onus is on the employer to ensure that secure technology and clear policies are in place, workers have made it very clear that they’re willing to go the extra mile to be able to work from home.  The Harris / Decima poll commissioned by Workopolis reveals:

  • Half (51 per cent) of Canadians said they would be willing to use their own resources, such as their own personal computer, to work from home.  
  • More than a quarter (28 per cent) indicated they would work longer hours, and two in ten (19 per cent) even said they would take a pay cut to be able to work from home.  
  • Sixteen per cent of workers would give up vacation days to take advantage of the added flexibility a work from home day would provide.

Win-Win for employees and employers
  • Better health: greater work-life balance and lower stress are strong selling points for working from home.
  • Zero commute: the home worker can transition from down time to work time in seconds and accommodate typical family responsibilities with little or no impact on the working day.
  • Reduced costs for business: employers stand to gain from a lower employee turnover rate and greater productivity.
  • Recruitment and retention: offering a work from home option is also seen as a perk by many employees and can help an organization attract and retain top talent.  

“With a looming labour shortage it is becoming increasingly important for employers to set themselves apart to attract the right talent,” says Bouchard. “New concepts such as offering staff the option to work from home allow employers to demonstrate their respect for work-life balance – something more and more candidates have told us they are looking for in new career opportunities.”

Research commissioned by Workopolis earlier this year found that good work-life balance was the top attribute workers are now seeking in a job opportunity, with over three-quarters (78 per cent) citing this as their top choice.

The evolution of a work from home day
The idea for a National Work From Home Day came to life when a blog article was posted on the Workopolis site discussing the notion of working from home and its benefits. A Workopolis home page poll followed, asking visitors if they would support a Work From Home Day in Canada. Over 20,000 votes were recorded with more than 80 per cent of Canadians voicing their support for the movement. A National Work From Home Day would follow on the heels of Work Wise Week which was established in the UK in 2005 and sees an average 5.8 million people telecommute on their designated day.

The following organizations have pledged their support for the campaign: The Canadian Telework Association; WorkShift Calgary; a regional initiative to promote, educate and accelerate the adoption of telecommuting in the business community; and Work Life Harmony; an organization dedicated to creating supportive work environments, strong families and healthy communities by facilitating work-life balance.  

Visit www.facebook.com/Workopolis today to learn more or to join the movement.

The Workopolis Work From Home Day Poll was conducted by Harris/Decima between October 28th and October 31st, 2010 via a national omnibus telephone survey among Canadians, not necessarily employed. A total of 1,005 Canadians were surveyed.  The study has a margin of error of +/-3.1%.

Workopolis provides Canadian employers and candidates with unrivalled access to one another by combining unique employer branding tools with the largest pool of candidate resumes on the Internet. Through the reach and scope of www.workopolis.com, extended by exclusive partnerships and community sites including social networking and mobile applications, Workopolis allows employers to engage with qualified candidates, allowing both parties to best assess fit online.   

Workopolis was chosen as the first organization to be given the Best Emerging Organization distinction as part of Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures program and was a recipient of the 2010 50 Most Engaged Workplaces award.